Local Plan – is it “Coming Home”, or Not? Roll up, Roll Up! Two Plans for the Price of just One – Castle Point’s Never had it so Good!

Canvey Island and Castle Point residents are being asked to add their opinions and thoughts to the latest Local Plan 2018 consultation process.

Town Centre
This is despite the fact that the Secretary of State, through the opinion of the Government’s Chief Planner, has yet to decide whether Castle Point council are deemed willing and capable of completing the Local Plan publication process themselves to the point of adoption!

The whole Castle Point Local Plan process is being carried out in a Rush under the threat of Intervention!

This despite the Secretary of State’s own office taking from 18 December 2015, when the Inspector issued his report into the Jotmans Farm housing Appeal inquiry, until the 21st April 2017, 16 whole months, to come to a decision. Apparently no hurry then to come to a planning decision, until an Election was imminent.

Residents entering the LP2018 process will note that there isn’t a Local Plan to actually consider, instead there are 2 !

Two Local Plans, from a single Evidence Base!

This shows, as Canvey Islanders should by now be aware, how “Local Factors” and politics can distort and manipulate the contents of Local Plans!

According to the cpbc Chief Executive officer up to 100,000 consultees are invited to respond, despite the 2011 population of Castle Point being just 88,011 and many of these being young children. this may lead to the Consultation response rate being skewed low! Previous response rates have been around just 12%

These Low response rates can lead to distortions of the “Feed Back” by the cpbc officers and our elected representatives. Previously, through these influences, we have seen Housing Growth directed onto Canvey Island despite Flood Risk being an issue, and the reduction of Housing Numbers, due to the concerns over Green Belt loss.

These influences on the Housing Growth have chiefly been in response to mainland residents concerns, indicated through the previous draft Local Plans consultations.

In recent times we have witnessed the pressure of residents and mainland councillors protest be successful in the prevention of the proposed Essex County Council closure of the Deanes school. This was strengthened by the cpbc chief executive’s supporting statement that there was to be a large Housing development site in the surrounding area, residents of which would be attending the Deanes to bring the attendance numbers nearer ECC expectations.

In contrast Canvey’s Castle View school, serving the most densely urbanised part of Castle Point and South Benfleet, was simply Closed!

A public facility closed, and sold off to a sectarian private enterprise.

The Paddocks, allowed to deteriorate despite money being available some years ago for improvements with a top up from CPBC funds, is now seen as a potential Housing development site.

If Canvey Island residents are tired of being dictated to, they must take the trouble to involve themselves in the Consultation.

This is crucial as, not only will a low response rate allow certain councillors to suggest that he, or she represents the “silent majority”, but will allow a potential disastrous Local Plan to emerge just so that it may appear CPBC are compliant with the 2 new strategic “Quango’s”, the “Association of South Essex Local Authorities” (ASELA) and the “Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission”!

Dalliance with either or both will lead to major growth changes, both in population from the 90,000 dwellings across the area and traffic especially locally, with no infrastructure improvements. Canvey Island, purely due to its situation will always remain an outpost. However many people are managed to be housed here, little infrastructure will be forthcoming simply because we are in Austere times.

Infrastructure requires maintenance, ECC are not looking to spend more on maintenance!

For all of the Canvey Island Petitions and Referendum the past has proved that election words and promises are cheap, we need to accept that due to our location, the area is seen as Developable, whether Housing, Business or Industrial, yet little benefit or financial return is gained by Infrastructure improvements.

As it stands your Local plan consultation response, in the first instance, will be weighed against mainland responses.

If you  as a Canvey resident consider;

that Canvey Island has become over developed to the point that New Large Housing development sites are unviable,

that the Traffic Issues mean the potential congestion is unreasonable,

that Tidal Flood Risk is not taken seriously enough when distributing Housing Growth,

that the whole of the increasing Urbanised area of Canvey Island is a Critical Drainage Area and the ever increasing development is putting too greater strain on the drainage system,

that the Road Access is inadequate for the current population, many of whom commute, and unsuitable and especially inadequate in the event of an Emergency Evacuation,

that in a severe Emergency, whether Flood Risk or Industrial, the sheer number of Residents on Canvey Island and the island’s location, mean that any response by the Emergency Services will be inadequate and a Danger to Life, despite responders best efforts,

that our Green Spaces and Green Belt are important to our well-being and should NOT be developed,

that our Town Centre is badly in need of Regeneration and Re-development and under serious threat from out of town shopping areas,

then you really should make the effort to Log onto the Castle Point council website and respond to the Consultation.

Otherwise it will be left to the Government, Council officers and the majority mainland representatives to impose on us “their” Local Plan.

To add your thoughts and concerns to the cpbc Local plan Consultation, log on HERE.

To view the documentation, log on HERE.

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7 responses to “Local Plan – is it “Coming Home”, or Not? Roll up, Roll Up! Two Plans for the Price of just One – Castle Point’s Never had it so Good!

  1. Steve Sawkins

    Editor
    There are consequences to the acceptance of using evidence from previously failed Local Plans

    Castle Point Borough Council Planning Officers , have previously provide the evidence that there is a considerable housing need for the borough, and then argued that this objectively assessed housing need will not be met primarily because of its substantial Green Belt constraint. However CPBC has also recognise, via its Green Belt boundary review, that some sites have been identified that do not fulfil a strategic Green Belt purpose.

    Further in a briefing paper prepared for members in 2011 by, a Planning Officer of the Borough Council, indicated that a particular Green Belt site was considered to be a deliverable site for housing and it was assessed that the GB boundary could be shifted to the A130 itself without impacting on the functions of the GB in this location. The same Planning Officer gave evidence at an inquiry and accepted that unrestricted sprawl would be contained by the A130 as a boundary, and this would also prevent merger or coalescence with urban settlements.

    The CPBC has consistently failed to provide a strategy that meets its housing needs, consequently there will now be Green Belt sites that have been the subject of successful Planning Appeals that will now be considered to be critical in terms of Castle Point meeting those needs.

    The Council has constantly stated that they are unable to meet housing needs due to other constraints within the Borough but have yet to provide comprehensive evidence to support the idea that critical flood risks and COMAH site hazard range issues are paramount to such a constraints argument, despite there being vital information available via Statutory Consultees.

    It is not therefore unreasonable to suggest that the safety of the Canvey Island community has, as far as the constraint to development is concerned, not received the same weight as that given to the mainland’s Green Belt.

    The protection of Green Belt as a tactic for the failure to provide for housing needs could be seen as being politically motivated particularly in the lead up to the local elections in May 2016 and the general election of 2017.

    Council members, have been recorded as being at odds with the advice of its own Senior Officers, when seeking to maximise the Green Belt approach to constrain development on the mainland, in the same manner as the out dated 1998 Adopted Local Plan.

    In the effort to prevent intervention, with the failure to have provided for its needs, Borough Councillors have allowed for the, in name only, “New Local Plan” to now be constructed and issues addressed by Planning Officers, supported by the Councils Governance. In doing so were sites, regardless of status, that are available and ready to be developed, will be sacrificed.

  2. First off, i’d like to say that it does not matter WHO Castle View school was sold off to – it should never have happened! To raise the point that it was sold off to a Sectarian group is bordering on Racism and not to be tolerated at any cost. There is no room on the Island for any more growth full stop!!! The existing roads cannot cope with the current volume of traffic as it is, adding several hundred or thousands more house and therefore possibly double that in the number of cars using the roads is a clear indication that the CP planners are not fit to serve. Judging my the monstrosity that has become the new ‘Castle View Prison – sorry, school, only enforces that and to re-name it thus is a total joke – where on earth does this eyesore even catch a glimpse of the Castle, let alone a view? Time to cut the BS, demand the third road off via the only viable and sensible option – Northwick road extension to Coryton to link up with the A13. Add the A130 extension across to Kent with connection to the new road off the Island will have multi-benefits for both residents and businesses on the Island; namely faster road links to and from Europe & Kent via the A2/M2, London, Suffolk and the A12; relief to the ever-congested Dartford Crossing; relief to the ever-congested Sadlers Farm and Waterside roundabouts. a slow and measured movement from Manor Road ind. estate to Charfleets would free up enough land for residential building – and just why do we have an industrial area slap-bang in the middle of a residential area anyway? Who planned/allowed that – why the CP planners, of course! Just how much of it now is actually industrial as opposed to commercial? Now THAT would be planning, not the easy option of ever-encroaching building on green space!

    • Sir, thank you for your input. You are entitled to your opinion, however offensive. Perhaps “single faith” school might be a more delicate expression. Nevertheless, the issue is that a facility publically owned was sold off into the private sector.
      Scanning your other points it appears you are advocating harming the environment as well as increasing air pollution through the extra traffic a new Thames crossing in the Borough would create. Apart from the fact that the distance across the Thames at Canvey is one of the points therefore likely the most expensive of the rejected options.

  3. Dear editor,
    It is essential that as many people as possible answer the Consultation Questionnaire, there is no escaping a raised Housing number for the next 20 years that is why Castle Point should be incharge of their Local Plan process, although difficult decisions need to be made , better by us than others.

    Please fill in the Consultation documents with your views as evidence for any possible adjustments we can make.

  4. Steve Sawkins

    Editor
    I am sure that Mr Weston and others appreciate that it is you that provides this very platform for him to present his point of view I do hope that he takes the opportunity to express his concerns via the CPBC consultation process.

  5. Dear Cllr Hart,
    Good morning,
    With regard to your response – could you kindly explain what the difficult decisions need to be made – actually are? Or perhaps give us residents some indications please. The council had responsibility for their Local Plan and it was not dealt with when it should have been (not withstanding the cost of this long running saga) – the plan was held back because of the green belt issues and residents overwhelming inputs which the council did not anticipate – everybody is aware of this. Thank you.

  6. Simon Hart Cllr

    Dear Mr Smith,
    We find ourselves as Castle Point residents as we all are in a strange situation .
    Yes Cllr’s have struggled to find an agreeable Local Plan due to housing targets and land availability, while other Councils have accepted theirs and the loss of their green belt land and now have massive development, possibly we are better off , but we have now run out of time, and if we do not come up with a plan someone else will and very very soon, and if that occurs we would have very little if any input. That is why I said difficult decisions are have to be made, are we any worse off for delaying our past local plans ? I do not believe we are.
    I can not give you specific details on what decisions have to be made as they would be site specific (possible building sites ) and that is not the stage of the process we find ourselves in, that is why the public consultation period is so important, not for passionate pleads but constructive comments on what issues affect you and Castle Point. As the Local Plan process proceeds who ever is in control of it, Castle Point’s housing target numbers will be set and then housing locations and site suitability will be assessed as part of the Local Plan process progresses.
    Costs so far are not wasted as all the evidence collected is still relevant, the new plan will and has to follow strict rules and time schedules if we do it or an outside body.
    I must make this very clear that the Local Plan for Castle Point has to progress in a speedy fashion, there will be no further delays, if they believe there will be they will give it to someone else to do it.
    Simon Hart

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